IAFF delegates on the final day of the 56th Convention unanimously adopted resolutions to censure local officials for aggressive anti-labor tactics and staunch opposition to legislation protecting fire fighters and paramedics on the job.
Members adopted a number of censure resolutions, supported with searing testimony from the floor and unanimous “ayes,” putting these officials on notice that the 330,291 members of the IAFF stand with their local affiliates.
Each of the censures was to be disseminated throughout local governments and allied labor organizations to make sure these anti-labor actions do not go unseen.
The adopted censure resolutions included:
Resolution 34 – Censure of Kansas City, Kansas, First Deputy Fire Chief Jack Andrade. Local 64 has been engaged in a fight with Andrade for the past four years over the deputy fire chief’s record of creating a hostile work environment, retaliation, and harassment of local affiliate leaders.
“Andrade has shown complete disregard for the labor process, and his actions have increased response times, put our members at risk, and even led to numerous complaints of discrimination,” said J.J. Simma, president of Kansas City Local 64.
Resolution 35 – Censure of U.S. Rep. Andrew Harris, R-MD. Elected to the U.S Congress in 2010, Harris refused to cosponsor the bipartisan Fire Fighter Cancer Registry Act, and voted against the Zadroga 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund and the Federal Fire Fighters Fairness Act.
“Andy Harris has an abysmal record when it comes to our issues. So, we want to send him a message that this is not just about Maryland. When you mess with one of us, you mess with all the IAFF,” said Jeff Buddle, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Maryland.
Resolution 36 – Censure of Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) Vice President of Public Safety Bryan Norwood, Fire Chief Denise Pouget, Assistant Chief Daniel Redman, and Assistant Chief Steven Gervis. These MWAA officials have repeatedly refused to communicate with Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Local 3217, ignored requests to discuss grievances, exacted excessive discipline on members, and refused to fill vacant positions
Local 3217 President Shawn Lynch said MWAA officials often harassed him and other members, threatened them with firing and termination of retirement benefits, and refused to acknowledge the line of duty death of an affiliate member. “This censure will let them know this abuse has to stop right here, right now,” he said.
Resolution 38 – Censure of Stamford, Conn. Fire Chief Trevor Roach and Assistant Chief Miguel Robles. The chiefs of the Stamford Conn. Fire Department have consistently disregarded principles of collective bargaining, harassed union leaders, oversaw a flawed promotional process, and double dipped pensions.
“We are talking about two people with no moral compass. We often talk about courage and commitment. I have another C word: Censure,” said Paul Anderson, president of Stamford Professional Fire Fighters Local 786.
Resolution 39 – Censure of Hemet, Calif. Fire Chief Don Scott Brown. Scott Brown, fire chief of the City of Hemet, Calif., Fire Department, routinely failed to comply with the collective bargaining agreement with Hemet Local 2342 causing the affiliate to file many grievances, and whose decisions led to increased emergency response times. Brown retired in 2021.
“We fought this SOB for seven years. This man does not deserve the honor of being called a fire fighter or fire chief, he is the epitome of anti-labor,” said Dave Prietto, president of Hemet Local 2343.
Resolution 40 – Censure of Maryland State Senator Cheryl C. Kagan. This state senator refused to denounce legislation that would have weakened collective bargaining for fire fighters and blocked a bill that would have protected fire fighters from carcinogenic exposures. Rather than supporting fire fighters, Kagan did the bidding of the anti-labor American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
“This senator has missed the forest through the trees, and our members deserve the right to work in a safe working environment,” said Jeff Buddle, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Maryland.
Resolution 41 – Censure of Mayor G.T. Bynum, Mayor of Tulsa, Okla. Though Mayor Bynum promoted himself as a public safety advocate and supporter of Tulsa Local 176, he has consistently thwarted collective bargaining efforts with the local affiliate. Currently, Bynum is party to a lawsuit under provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act for failure to pay for mandatory overtime.
“In the beginning of his term, we had a good working relationship with Mayor Bynum, we even endorsed him,” said Matt Lay, president of Tulsa Local 176. “But he is not the public safety champion he claims to be, and we want the public to know where he really stands with Tulsa fire fighters.”
Resolution 42 – Censure of East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland. With just three days’ notice, Mayor Copeland switched the East Chicago, Ind., Fire Department from a 24 hours on/48 hours off shift schedule to a grueling eight-hour rotating swing schedule that effectively required fire fighters to be on duty every day of the week. He closed a station and restructured staffing from 23 fire fighters per shift to 14, decreasing department capabilities, and causing several fire fighters to quit the fire service.
Angel Gilarski, secretary for East Chicago Local 365 thanked assembled delegates and the entire IAFF for standing alongside the small affiliate during its battles with Mayor Copeland.
“This guy can go kick rocks! He is up for reelection, and we are coming for him this time,” said Gilarski, to thunderous applause